Monday, January 16, 2017


(May 6, 2016 - Source: Mike Carlson/Getty Images North America)
The Yankees have not given up on their quest to get another left handed reliever in the bullpen. Of course, the Yankees aren't the only ones looking but suddenly the stakes are even higher. One pitcher has caught the interest of most major league baseball teams and it's not because he has incredible raw talent, or a killer fastball. He has evolved and may have found a way to bridge baseball and science together.

(April 6, 2016 - Source: Rob Carr/Getty Images North America)
Months ago if news broke that the Yankees were interested in Craig Breslow some people may have laughed and some may have scratched their heads. After all, last season he had a 4.50 ERA in 14 innings before the Marlins let him go. He spent a few weeks with the Rangers AAA affiliate and wasn't heard from after that. Now, according to Peter Gammons, he has the interest in as many as 20 teams and one of those is rumored to be the Yankees. How?

Move over Moneyball, Stem Cell Research, and Bill James....a new scientific theory is here to be tested. At the end of the season Breslow bought a Raspodo device which tracks a pitcher's spin, spin efficiency, velocity and tilt axis and gives pitchers just as much data as a pith f/x machine but costs a lot less. All of this data has given Breslow a new pitching strategy that he believes works, and will help him be successful again. He's also not the only one who believes in it.

(Sept. 19, 2016 - Source: Harry How/Getty Images North America)
Another pitcher the Yankees once had interest in, Rich Hill used the same science to reinvent himself with help from Brian Bannister, the Dodgers Director of Pitching analysis and assistant pitching coach. Hill went from playing in an Independent League to a reliable MLB starter two years ago after he learned how to get a better spin on his pitches and drop his arm angle. Before adopting this new scientific approach made a modest $3 million salary from 2007 through 2015. After reinventing himself, he now has a three year, $48 million contract with the Dodgers and now Breslow wants to do the same thing. So maybe science can successfully be applied to baseball.

It may sound like a bunch of hype, but when you have scouts watching him pitch and describe the movement on his pitches as "sick" AND you have Clayton Kershaw, one of the best pitchers in the game buying into it as well as others, you know this isn't a trend that is going away anytime soon. Maybe this is just the beginning. Teams are looking for that competitive edge and maybe science finally gives it to them.

(April 19, 2016 - Source: Rob Foldy/Getty Images North America)
The Yankees want some more veteran presence on their team and Brian Cashman has been saying this off season has been all about pitching....yet the Yankees have only added Aroldis Chapman. Maybe it will take some intense interest and competition for Breslow to make the Steinbrenner's open up their wallet again. Maybe a scientific edge will intrigue the Yankees so much that they just can't let him sign anywhere else. Or, maybe the Yankees just watch from afar....and have an anti-climatic ending.

Will the Yankees be swayed by science? I have my theories on this, but we will see what happens. Breslow is set to have an open audition on the 23rd....who is going to sign him?

Stay tuned.

 --Jeana Bellezza
BYB Managing Editor
Follow me on Twitter: @NYPrincessJ

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